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Congratulations to Dr. Kori Flower, Professor of Pediatrics, and the Carolina Conexiones team, including Linda Bowles, Director of Volunteer Services, and Kristina Morris, volunteer coordinator, both with UNC Health, on winning the 2020 Impact Award.

Congratulations to Dr. Kori Flower, Professor of Pediatrics, and the Carolina Conexiones team, including the Director of Volunteer Services, Linda Bowles, and Kristina Morris, volunteer coordinator with UNC Health. Carolina Conexiones was awarded the 2020 Impact Award from the Society of Volunteer Healthcare Leaders. The SHVL Impact Award recognizes one volunteer services program each year for outstanding contributions and professionalism in the field of Healthcare Volunteer Administration. This national honor highlights a program that has made a significant positive impact to the healthcare organization and the communities served by the organization.

Carolina Conexiones is a bilingual patient navigation program in NC Children’s Hospital that facilitates wayfinding and non-medical communication for Spanish-speaking families. Carolina Conexiones started in the Children’s Specialty Clinic to increase patient satisfaction and flow by decreasing language barriers for Spanish-speaking families, and is expanding to serve additional areas in the Children’s Hospital.
Carolina Conexiones contributes to the UNC Health mission by serving Spanish-speaking families who seek care at UNC Children’s Hospital; preparing future health care professionals to work in multicultural, multilingual health care settings; and contributing to a growing body of research on how to bridge gaps in care for Spanish-speaking pediatric patients.

Prior to Carolina Conexiones, few Spanish-speaking families participated in patient satisfaction surveys. Volunteer navigators educate families about satisfaction surveys and encourage their participation. The program also developed a paper survey to better measure satisfaction. Since the program began in 2015, the number of Spanish-speaking families completing Press-Ganey surveys has quadrupled. In addition, with the assistance of Carolina Conexiones patient navigators, the percentage of Spanish-speaking families using myUNCChart has increased dramatically from 3% to 27%.

According to the SHVL, “Carolina Conexiones embodies an impactful, sustainable, and replicable program worthy of praise!” We agree! Congratulations!